Itella Posti, the Finnish postal service, will release three stamps honoring Tom of Finland later this year.
The official announcement celebrates the work of Touko Laaksonen, “one of the most well-known Finnish artists around the world”:
His emphatically masculine homoerotic drawings have attained iconic status in their genre and had an influence on, for instance, pop culture and fashion. In his works, Tom of Finland utilized the self-irony and humor typical of subcultures.
The drawings on the stamp sheet represent strong and confident male figures typical of their designer. “The sheet portrays a sensual life force and being proud of oneself. There is never too much of that in this northern country,” says Timo Berry [graphic artist who designed the stamps].
We can never have too much of that in my country, either.
It’s difficult to imagine the US Postal Service honoring such an explicitly erotic artist, gay or straight. The Fox News freakout would be a joy to behold, but I just don’t see it happening.
Many sites mentioned the USPS’s upcoming Harvey Milk stamp by comparison. I’m happy to see Milk so honored, but it’s not quite the same thing. Harvey Milk was a civil rights leader and politician, who have an easier time gaining respectability even when their causes remain bitterly contested. When the USPS honors Bob Mizer with a stamp series, the comparison will be apt.
Posted last year: Tom of Finland and Bob Mizer Exhibition Coming to Los Angeles.